An Interview with Kendall Pretzer
Kendall talks about joining Grace Hill and the company’s new team-based accounts model.
Grace Hill Content Marketing Manager Amy McClellan recently sat down with the founder of The Strategic Solution and current Grace Hill Executive Vice President Kendall Pretzer to discuss her decision to make The Strategic Solution a part of Grace Hill and her unique vision for Grace Hill’s account management strategy.
Kendall, it’s obvious at the Better Together Breakfasts that you and Dru have a great rapport, and you’re a natural fit for Grace Hill. But I know a lot of people are curious about why you chose now to combine The Strategic Solution with Grace Hill.
“The Strategic Solution and Grace Hill have been friends for years. We’ve always hung out at trade shows together and shared references. And I’d been approached by Grace Hill and others about an acquisition before. But this time it just felt like all the important pieces aligned. I was looking at new ways to move our technology forward, and I really liked the direction Grace Hill was headed. I also liked Dru and the people at Stone Point. They took a sincere interest in me and my people and the skills we have to offer. But one of the most important reasons is that combining The Strategic Solution and Grace Hill just made sense. When I was querying my informal board of directors about becoming a part of Grace Hill, the response was, without exception, positive. One member (Sue Ansel, National Multi Housing Council Chairwoman and President and CEO of Gables Residential) asked me if I thought this partnership would make the industry better. I thought about it and realized the answer was yes. Bringing policies and training together—in the way that only we can—will definitely make multifamily stronger as an industry.”
You now lead account management for Grace Hill. What made you decide to focus on that part of the company?
“I spent years working for large real estate companies, including Trammell Crow, Gables and others. And then, of course, I have experience running my own business, where we had very tight customer interactions. So, I’ve filled every role our clients are in, from trainer to director of operations to president, and I know what these roles need from their account manager. Plus, I brought a tremendous amount of leadership experience with me in the form of my Strategic Solution team. Each one of them has experience in training, operations and consulting. Dru and I wanted to find a way to push all that talent and experience directly to our clients, and account management is the best way to do that.”
I know you’ve recently implemented a new team-based structure for Grace Hill’s account management. Can you tell me a little about how that structure operates?
“Each of our accounts will continue to have a dedicated account manager as a single point of contact who can help them strategize on training and talent solutions. But now they will also have an entire team of personnel who are already familiar with their company and can jump in quickly to offer additional expertise or availability whenever needed. And each team is led by an account executive with senior-level training and management experience. These leaders provide a more wholistic and far-reaching perspective on how training fits into each account’s overall business performance.”
What was the philosophy behind the new model and how do you anticipate it benefiting clients?
“We wanted more executive engagement with and insight into all of our accounts. Less hierarchy means we can be more responsive to our clients’ needs and give our clients the benefit of a pool of combined talent and experience. In addition to being extremely knowledgeable and experienced, each of our account managers excels in a particular area. This model allows our clients to keep the convenience of a single point of contact while getting the benefit of a team of talent and expertise.”
Looking forward, what are you most excited about accomplishing with Grace Hill’s account management?
“With training and talent development, we have the unique opportunity to be directly involved with the people who make up a business. We don’t deal with widgets; we deal with people. We get to help people perform better and feel better. I love being in front of a client who tells me we’ve helped their people become better. That’s a success to me, and it’s the impact I’m most excited for us to have.”
You can talk to Kendall and Grace Hill CEO Dru Armstrong in person at one of Grace Hill’s Better Together Breakfasts. These events are a great opportunity to network with industry peers, get to know the new Grace Hill and give us your feedback on how we can continue to improve as your performance management partner.